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Part 7 of The Empire Strikes Out – Canada’s Defence & The Commonwealth Space Program

Posted August 27, 2015 by Chuck Black

Canada Rejects the Commonwealth Space Program!960 newspapers article on BlueStreak.By Robert GodwinThe general confusion during the late 1950s about the merits of missile defence led to several questionable strategic decisions made by the Governments o…

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Part 6 of The Empire Strikes Out – Canada’s Defence & The Commonwealth Space Program

Posted August 20, 2015 by Chuck Black

BOMARC; the Blue Streak; the Blue Steel or the Douglas Skybolt and WoomeraBomarc missile cancellation. April 1960.By Robert GodwinThe general confusion during the late 1950s about the merits of missile defence led to several questionable strategic deci…

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Trivia Facts About the Goodyear Blimp

Posted August 19, 2015 by Anonymous

No major sporting event is complete without it. In fact, it’s probably the best known lighter-than-air ship ever (except maybe the Hindenburg, which is famous for blowing up). Here’s the story of the Goodyear blimp.

The post Trivia Facts About the Goodyear Blimp appeared first on Trivia Books and Facts | Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader.

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Part 5 of The Empire Strikes Out – Canada’s Defence & The Commonwealth Space Program

Posted August 13, 2015 by Chuck Black

Replacing the Squadrons: the Arrow: its Cancellation and the Reasons Behind the DecisionAnnouncement that Lockheed F-104G converted to drone for target practice (August 1959).By Robert GodwinThe general confusion during the late 1950s about the merits …

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Will This Relic Change Our Whole View of Early American History?

Posted August 7, 2015 by Anonymous

It’s a news story that contains the ingredients of a paperback thriller, the sort of…

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Part 4 of The Empire Strikes Out – Canada’s Defence & The Commonwealth Space Program

Posted August 6, 2015 by Chuck Black

Britain follows Canada’s Lead; Rearming the RCAF and the Commonwealth Space Symposium1959 Hawker Siddeley ad promoting Commonwealth Space.By Robert GodwinThe general confusion during the late 1950s about the merits of missile defence led to several que…

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Part 3 of The Empire Strikes Out – Canada’s Defence & The Commonwealth Space Program

Posted July 31, 2015 by Chuck Black

A 50th Anniversary; Rocket Interceptors; Buy American & Blue StreakHugh Dryden and Herbert Ribner in February 1959.By Robert GodwinThe general confusion during the late 1950s about the merits of missile defence led to several questionable strategic…

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This Week in Space History: July 28th – August 3rd

Posted July 25, 2015 by Chuck Black
          Compiled by Matt Heimbecker

Here are a few of the more noteworthy entries in the Space Library covering the week of July 28th – August 3rd:

  • July 28, 1969 – NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) engineers sent signals to Mariner VI to turn on its TV camera and scientific experiments that would measure Mars surface characteristics and atmosphere. The spacecraft (launched on February 24th as part of the first “dual mission” to Mars along with Mariner VII) would begin taking the first of 33 far-encounter pictures 771,500 miles from Mars beginning early July 29th. Full-disc photos would be received at JPL on July 29th.
  • July 29th, 1993 the team behind the Array of Low-Energy X-ray Imaging Sensors (ALEXIS) satellite, which was launched into orbit April 25th on board an Air Force Pegasus rocket for the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, announced that scientists now expect to get much of the data they seek from the damaged satellite. Officials at the New Mexico laboratory had hoped to demonstrate that they could handle space missions faster, better, and cheaper than NASA. However, one of the satellite’s four solar panels was damaged during the launch, and the satellite was deemed a loss. Unmanned satellites frequently diagnose their own maladies, make adjustments needed to survive, and allow themselves to be reprogrammed in orbit. This is what happened to ALEXIS, which on July 5th was brought under control and a week later conducted its first experiment. The craft used six telescopes to capture x-rays that could reveal evidence of weapons proliferation, and it carries an experiment designed to determine how Earth’s atmosphere distorts radio signals.
Page one of an eleven page document which rocket pioneer Robert H. Goddard created in order to receive US patent #1341053 for a “magazine rocket” in 1920. The document is one of many available in electronic format at The Space Library
  • July 30th, 1982 – Cosmonauts Anatoly Berezovoy and Valentin Lebedev made a space walk from the orbiting station Salyut 7 to disassemble and partially replace worn out equipment on the station’s exterior and study opportunities for doing various jobs outside it. After they donned space suits, Lebedev left the station for the “zone” of operations, while Berezovoy remained in the open manhole to film his walk for television. They dismantled and passed into the station a micrometeorite-measuring instrument and some panels with optical and various structural materials that had been outside the station since its launch April 19th.
  • July 31st, 2008 – A team of scientists led by Robert H. Brown of the University of Arizona, Tucson, announced in the journal Nature that NASA’s ESA spacecraft had gathered evidence that Saturn’s moon Titan has at least one lake of liquid hydrocarbons. The discovery made Titan the only known celestial body, besides Earth, to have liquid on its surface. Data from previous fly-bys had shown that Titan has several features that appear to be lakes, but scientists had been unsure whether these bodies contained liquid or solid material.
  • August 1st, 1963 – The MARINER II interplanetary space probe completed its first orbit of the sun, after traveling approximately 540,000,000 mi. Launched Aug. 27th, 1962, the spacecraft passed within 21,648 mi. of Venus Dec. 14th, 1962, and provided 111 million bits of information on Venus and interplanetary space.
  • August 2nd 1991 – The scheduled launch of Atlantis on August 1st was delayed by a false alarm over a pressure valve and then by bad weather, the media reported. The launch was then rescheduled for August 2nd. The astronauts’ first task after takeoff was to launch the $120Mln USD ($156.5Mln CDN) Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, which was done successfully.
The first page of a three page 1936 German patent issued to Rudolf Nebel, a spaceflight advocate active in Germany’s amateur rocket group, the Verein für Raumschiffahrt (VfR – “Spaceflight Society“) in the 1930s and in rebuilding German rocketry following World War II. The document one of many available online at The Space Library.
  • August 3rd, 1975 – The Philadelphia Inquirer reported  space expenditures resulted in tangible economic benefits, according to a report, “The Economic Impact of NASA R&D Spending,” being prepared for NASA by Chase Econometric Associates, Inc. Using methods developed for regular national economic forecasts, Chase predicted that, if NASA’s research and development budget were increased by $1Bln USD ($1.3Bln CDN) for the 1975-84 period, the US gross national product (GNP) would swell by $23Bln USD ($30Bln CDN) or 2% over the normal rate of growth. Labor productivity in the non-farm areas of the economy would rise more than 2% over the normal growth rate, and more than one million jobs would be created, reducing the unemployment rate by nearly 0.4% by 1984.
The Space Library, designed and built by the people at Burlington, Ontario based Apogee Books, is currently in beta test but even now contains 6,656 documents and over thirty thousand pages of first generation source materials from NASA and others covering almost the entirety of humanity’s expansion into the high frontier.

Access to all the documents contained within the The Space Library is only $5.00 CDN a month. For more information, please click on the links below.

Your $5.00 CDN monthly subscription will help to support both the Space Library and 
the Commercial Space blog.

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Part 2 of The Empire Strikes Out – Canada’s Defence & The Commonwealth Space Program

Posted July 23, 2015 by Chuck Black

Cancelling the Arrow; A Government Not Interested in Space; Sounding Rockets, 

the Black Brant & Velvet Glove

January 1959 CAS submission to Prime Minister Diefenbaker.

By Robert Godwin

The general confusion during the late 1950s about the merits of missile defence led to several questionable strategic decisions made by the Governments of Canada and the United Kingdom. 

The possibility of a third contestant in the Space Race, in the form of a Commonwealth space program hinged on the sharing of technology and financing amongst the various invested nations, but more significantly on the political choices made regarding the future defensive postures of Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.

On January 12th 1959 Phil Lapp and the members-in-council of the Canadian Astronautical Society (CAS) sent a brief to Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker urging him to support Canada’s involvement in a Commonwealth Space Program. In part the brief said, “Canadian participation in the program would be of great value toward sponsoring and maintaining in this country a nucleus of scientists and engineers proficient in the vital space research frontier, and at the same time permit this country to take its rightful place in the astronautical field.”

The brief then went on to urge the government of Canada to send up to four scientists to London to attend the already-planned Commonwealth space summit. The response from Diefenbaker was swift and essentially said that he was deferring to his Defence Minister; Victoria Cross winner, General George Pearkes. On February 6th Pearkes replied that the government was not in a position to be sending either participants or observers from the CAS or from any other organisation to either the symposium or the IAC in London.[1]

Surprisingly the Defence Minister showed no interest in sending anyone to learn the latest information about missiles, which was, of course, what everyone would be discussing at IAC. This was all the more remarkable considering what happened two weeks later. On February 20th the Government of Canada withdrew their support for the CF-105 Avro Arrow fighter interceptor program, in favour of missiles; specifically the Boeing Bomarc-B medium range surface-to-air nuclear missile.

A Government Not Interested in Space

The day before replying to the CAS Pearkes had been in a secret cabinet meeting at which his own Chief of Air Staff had told him that in his opinion, regardless of the geopolitical state at that moment, Canada would still need 100 to 115 top-notch interceptors with which to defend itself.[2] But at the exact moment when Pearkes was discarding his fighters and committing Canada to missiles he seems to have chosen to disregard the potential importance of missiles for space research…

To Continue Reading Part 2 of 
“The Empire Strikes Out – Canada’s Defence & The Commonwealth Space Program”

Your $5.00 CDN monthly subscription will help to support both the Space Library and 
the Commercial Space blog.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Robert Godwin.

Robert Godwin is the owner and founder of Apogee Space Books. He is also the Space Curator at the Canadian Air & Space Museum

He has written or edited over 100 books including the award winning series “The NASA Mission Reports” and appeared on dozens of radio and television programs in Canada, the USA and England as an expert not only on space exploration but also on music. 

His books have been discussed on CNN, the CBC, the BBC and CBS 60 Minutes. He produced the first ever virtual reality panoramas of the Apollo lunar surface photography and the first multi-camera angle movie of the Apollo 11 moonwalk. His latest book was written with the late Frederick I Ordway III and is called “2001 The Heritage and Legacy of the Space Odyssey” about the history of spaceflight at the movies.

Footnotes

1. Proceedings of the CAS Vol 1 No 1 Feb 1959
2. Minutes of Cabinet Defence Committee Feb 5th 1959

Last Week: “The Beginning; How to Build a Space Program & the Canadian Astronautical Society,” in part one of “The Empire Strikes Out – Canada’s Defence & The Commonwealth Space Program.”

Next Week: “A 50th Anniversary; Rocket Interceptors; Buy American & Blue Streak,” as part three of “The Empire Strikes Out – Canada’s Defence & The Commonwealth Space Program” continues!

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Part 1 of The Empire Strikes Out – Canada’s Defence & The Commonwealth Space Program

Posted July 20, 2015 by Chuck Black

The Beginning; How to Build a Space Program & the Canadian Astronautical Society


By Robert Godwin

British aircraft engineer Geoffrey de Havilland circa 1960.

The general confusion during the late 1950s about the merits of missile defence led to several questionable strategic decisions made by the Governments of Canada and the United Kingdom. 

The possibility of a third contestant in the Space Race, in the form of a Commonwealth space program hinged on the sharing of technology and financing amongst the various invested nations, but more significantly on the political choices made regarding the future defensive postures of Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.

When Geoffrey De Havilland committed to building an aircraft factory in Canada in 1927 Britain was still a global power, despite the immense losses and repercussions of World War I. Canada was independent but continued to be perceived by many, both at home and abroad, as part of the British Empire. During World War II Canada “came of age” and provided Britain with a disproportionate amount of military hardware, particularly aircraft such as the Avro Lancaster bomber and the De Havilland Mosquito fighter. A vigorous exchange of engineering skills and personnel took place between the two countries, before, during and after the war.

Between the 1920s and 1950s vast sums of money were spent building Canada into a competitive world-class center of aerospace science and engineering. In the late 1940s and early 1950s much of Britain’s industrial energies were tied up rebuilding the country’s infrastructure after the Second World War.

The birth of the long-range strategic missile during that conflict, and during the subsequent Cold War, raised the stakes until Britain no longer had the resources to project itself onto the world stage with the same big-stick as the Soviet Union and the United States. The British government banned the export of capital from the UK and so large corporate concerns like A.V. Roe and De Havilland could only continue their Canadian ventures by offering “in kind” services, which frequently took the form of the transfer of skilled personnel. Many of those British engineers and scientists chose to permanently emigrate to Canada and Australia in search of better opportunities.

By the summer of 1958, the UK parent of A.V. Roe Canada, Hawker Siddeley, was publicly trumpeting its Canadian success story. British reporters were literally catching flights to Canada just to interview the daily flood of emigrant engineers. Employees at “Avro” and its branch subsidiaries had escalated from 300 in 1945 to 41,000 in 1958; during the same period sales at Avro rose from zero to $310M.[1]

The rival De Havilland Company, also headquartered in England, had a net asset reserve of just over £19M (£400M in 2015) and its Beaver aircraft continued to be churned out of their factory at Downsview in Toronto. The Beaver had performed so well during the International Geophysical Year (56-57) that no less than three different geographical features had been named after it in Antarctica, and the US Congress had actually passed a special dispensation to allow it to be purchased by the US military…[2]

To Continue Reading Part 1 of “The Empire Strikes Out – Canada’s Defence & The Commonwealth Space Program”
Your $5.00 CDN monthly subscription will help to support both the Space Library and 
the Commercial Space blog.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Robert Godwin.

Robert Godwin is the owner and founder of Apogee Space Books. He is also the Space Curator at the Canadian Air & Space Museum

He has written or edited over 100 books including the award winning series “The NASA Mission Reports” and appeared on dozens of radio and television programs in Canada, the USA and England as an expert not only on space exploration but also on music. 

His books have been discussed on CNN, the CBC, the BBC and CBS 60 Minutes. He produced the first ever virtual reality panoramas of the Apollo lunar surface photography and the first multi-camera angle movie of the Apollo 11 moonwalk. His latest book was written with the late Frederick I Ordway III and is called “2001 The Heritage and Legacy of the Space Odyssey” about the history of spaceflight at the movies.

Footnotes

1. Daily Express Oct 30 1958
2. De Havilland Gazette June 1959

Next Week: “Cancelling the Arrow; A Government Not Interested in Space; Sounding Rockets, the Black Brant & Velvet Glove” as part 2 of “The Empire Strikes Out – Canada’s Defence & The Commonwealth Space Program” continues!

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This Week in Space History: July 21st – July 27th

Posted July 20, 2015 by Chuck Black

          Compiled by Matt HeimbeckerThe Space Library, designed and built by the people at Burlington, Ontario based Apogee Books, is currently in beta test but even now contains 6,656 documents and over thirty …

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Did RADARSAT-2 Find HMS Erebus?

Posted July 13, 2015 by Chuck Black
          By Chuck Black
The final chapter on Sir John Franklin’s 1845 expedition to traverse the remaining, unexplored sections of the famed Northwest Passage has developed a distinctly modern, and very political, twist.

Pulitzer prize winning photographer/reporter Paul Watson has resigned from Canada’s largest daily newspaper over allegations that his bosses at the Toronto Star refused to publish a story of “significant public interest,” relating to the September 2014 discovery of the wreck of one of the lost ships from the expedition.

HMS Erebus and HMS Terror leaving Greenhithe, England, on the morning of 19 May 1845, under the command of  Captain Sir John Franklin, in an ill-fated attempt to traverse the remaining unexplored sections of the Northwest passage. Both vessels were classified as Royal Navy bomb ships, a type built with extremely strong hulls to withstand the recoil of the mortars which they normally carried. This made the ships ideal for exploration of the Arctic and Antarctic regions, where the stronger hulls provided protection against pack ice and icebergs. Despite this protection, both ships (along with Franklin and 128 other officers and crew) were lost sometime after July 1845. As outlined in the September 8th, 2014 CBC News article, “Lost Franklin expedition ship found in the Arctic,” no less a personage than Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced in 2014 that the wreck of HMS Erebus had been found. Graphic originally published in the May 24th, 1845 edition of the Illustrated London News.

According to Watson, and as outlined in the July 8th, 2015 CBC radio program “As It Happens” segment “Journalist Paul Watson on the Franklin Expedition & his Toronto Star resignation,” the real story began in April 2015, when various government employees “who were experts in their field (and the) people who actually did find that ship” became angry over news reports surrounding the discovery, but were unable to correct the public record for fear of “losing their jobs.”

One specific program acted as a lightning rod for their anger; the April 9th, 2015 CBC documentary on “Franklin’s Lost Ships,” an episode of the long running CBC program “The Nature of Things.”

Watson, the only journalist on the lead Canadian icebreaker involved in the 2014 Victoria Strait expedition which found the Erebus, said that those involved with the search were specifically concerned over accounts originating from John G. Geiger, the ex-editorial board editor of the Globe and Mail and current CEO of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS), “which these experts believed were incorrect.
The RCGS was heavily involved with the most recent search for the HMS Erebus. Geiger was also the co-author of the 2004 book, “Frozen in Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition.”
A screenshot from “Franklin’s Lost Ships,” which first aired on April 9th, 2015 and was cited by Watson as being the catalyst which drove his current efforts. The complete program is available online at no charge on the CBC website. Screenshot c/o CBC.

According to Watson, Geiger had direct access to “at least one source” in the prime minister’s office along with access to the editors at the Star and worked to kill the story. A useful overview of those attempts which eventually culminated in Watson’s resignation is included in the July 8th, 2015 CanadaLand post “Q&A with Paul Watson, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist, on why he just Resigned from the Toronto Star” and the July 9th follow-up “Paul Watson vs. the Toronto Star.”

Of course, Watson isn’t the only one objecting to the spin the Federal government seems to be putting on the HMS Erebus discovery. Former Research in Motion co-CEO Jim Balsillie, who contributed money and a research vessel through the Arctic Research Foundation (which he founded along with businessman Tim MacDonald), and who used his Ottawa connections to secure support from other government departments for the expedition, also expressed concerns.

As outlined in his April 30th, 2015 letter to environment minister Leona Aglukkaq, Balsillie was “concerned that the (CBC) documentary contains information that runs contrary to the planning meeting we held in your office on June 9th, 2014 and filmed for the Prime Minister’s on-line news channel. The narrative, as currently presented, attempts to minimize the role of the Government and its respective agencies and private partners. It also creates new and exaggerated narratives for the exclusive benefit of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society and its own partners.”

The April 30th, 2015 letter from Jim Balsillie to environment minister Leona (not “Leon“) Aglukkaq outlining concerns over the CBC documentary on “Franklin’s Lost Ships.” The complete letter is available online at http://aptn.ca/news/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2015/07/Arctic-Research-Foundation.pdf.

Why would what is essentially a scientific expedition demand so much attention from Ottawa – and what is the connection to space?

That’s easy. As outlined in the May 20th, 2015 Bloomberg Business article, “How a 19th Century Shipwreck Could Give Canada Control of the Arctic,” the military, civilian and Canadian Space Agency (CSA) tools requisitioned to find Franklin’s ships could also be re-purposed to stand guard over Canada’s northern borders and bolster Canada’s claim to the arctic.

Enter RADARSAT-2.

Although not mentioned explicitly as one of the resources used for the latest search by the mass media, an undated posting on the University of Waterloo website under the title “Alumnus Proves Missing Piece in Franklin Discovery” leaves little doubt that at least one expert in deciphering RADARSAT-2 Earth observation data was involved in the find.

The posting credits “a handful of dedicated sleuths, including Geography grad Tom Zagon,” as being the ones who “finally put the puzzle together in a multidisciplinary effort that speaks to the power of combining satellite imagery, ice climatology and historical records.

RADARSAT data expert Tom Zagan. Photo c/o University of Waterloo.

Of course, many of the specific capabilities of the RADARSAT-2 ground penetrating synthetic aperture radar (SAR) are military secrets.

Examples of RADARSAT 2 literature available from the CSA and prime contractor MacDonald Dettwiler (MDA) suggest (but don’t explicitly state) that the data derived from the satellite is useful for mapping the ocean floor (which means that it could see through salt water at certain frequencies) and able to differentiate between rocks, man made objects (like ships) and ice.

Other documents, such as chapter 10 of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Synthetic Aperture Radar Marine User’s Manual state that under favorable conditions, SAR has the ability to detect sea floor topographic features in shallow water areas.

Chuck Black.

But while there are likely a great many good reasons to publicize the discovery of the Erebus from a political and historical perspective, there may also be sound military reasons to confuse and obfuscate the specific techniques used to make those discoveries and to control at the political level any release of information on the find.

So don’t expect anything substantial to come out over the next little while. Endangering national security puts a whole new spin on the situation.
___________________________________________________________

Chuck Black is the editor of the Commercial Space blog.

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